Letter: Retired Superintendent: Macksey Cares Deeply About the City

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To the Editor:

I am please to submit this endorsement of Jennifer Macksey for mayor of the city of North Adams. The role of mayor is an extremely challenging, demanding, and arduous position with a large scope of responsibilities. In order to be successful, it is imperative that a candidate brings with them a certain set of skills.

The 2022 city budget is $46,166,998.The city side of government has approximately 20 different departments, 34 different boards and commissions and nearly100 employees. Additionally, the mayor is the chairperson of the School Committee for the North Adams Public Schools with a district budget of $17,769,074 and another 380-plus employees. Although we have two strong candidates, I know Jennifer Macksey is the best qualified, ready, and able to make the smoothest transition into this position.

Please consider the following:

Jennifer is well trained, with a bachelor of science in accounting and administration from Trinity College and a master's in higher education administration from Bay Path College. She brings with her the strong academic foundation that is a must-have to understand and maintain the city's financial well-being.

She has experience. In 1995, Jennifer was hired by the city as the director of finance and chief procurement officer. During this time, I held the position of assistant superintendent for the district. I was responsible for approximately half of the district's $15,000,000 budget as well as approximately $6,000,000 in grant funding. I worked with her office regularly and quickly realized how competent and knowledgeable an Administrator she was. Jen became my go-to person not only for state, federal, and local procurement and bidding but also as a resource for a wide range of financial issues. Additionally, over the next five years, she became very well versed with all district programs, staffing and their funding sources. While I cannot speak to the city's other 50-plus departments and boards, I am confident that a similar relationship ensued.

In 2000-2001, both of our positions changed. She became the city treasurer/tax collector and chief financial officer and I was appointed superintendent of schools. For the next eight years she oversaw the entire city budget and was thoroughly versed in the workings of the school budget. Our responsibilities grew as did our knowledge of the city and educational management as every aspect of the city and educational governance was now in our purview. The culmination of these 13 years that Jennifer spent in these two roles is invaluable as it allows her to step into the position of mayor with a clear understanding of what is required to manage this city with care and initiative.

Finally, and in my eyes perhaps the most important reason, is that she cares deeply about the city and its citizens. When difficult decisions arise, her deciding cursor has always been "do what's best for the people in North Adams." Training, experience and concern — these are the things that should resonate in everyone's ears as they walk into the polling booths to make this very important choice of who will be next to lead the City of North Adams.

I recommend Jennifer Macksey for mayor to you without reservation.

James Montepare
Williamstown, Mass.

James Montepare is a retired superintendent of the North Adams Public Schools.



Tags: election 2021,   letters to the editor,   municipal election,   

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North Adams Advises Masking Indoors Regardless of Vaccine Status

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Local public health officials are advising that all residents wear face coverings indoors regardless of vaccination status because of the dramatic increase in COVID-19 transmission. 
The joint public health advisory was issued Monday by the North Adams Board of Health and the Office of the Mayor and is effective immediately.
"The recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the City of North Adams and other communities, including among vaccinated residents, coupled with concerns regarding new COVID-19 variants reminds us of the continuing need for caution in the face of the COVID-19 virus," the release states. "As of [Thursday, Dec. 2], transmission rates are increasing in Berkshire County and the City of North Adams has experienced an increase in cases locally in the past weeks, with further positivity rates anticipated following the Thanksgiving holiday."
North Adams registered a positivity rate of 73.2 per 100,000 people, and averaged nearly 10 new cases a day for the two weeks ending Nov. 27. The city's 14-day average positivity rate on Thursday (when the weekly numbers are posted by the state) was 6.76 percent compared to 3.6 percent for the entire state.
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